Following on from my end of the season thoughts, and given that posters and flyers all over NYC are declaring Doomsday this Saturday, around 6pm, I thought I should sum up the best and worst of the entire history of football, dating back to when I started watching and including only games that I have seen.
Best player (Spurs)
Has to be David Ginola. Far and away the most entertaining player I’ve ever seen in a Spurs shirt, every time he got the ball the whole crowd would hold their collective breath to see what would come next.
Best player (non-Spurs)
Has to go to Cristiano Ronaldo; he would torment defenders, infuriate the crowd with his playacting antics, but normally end up scoring or setting up goals and lead his side to victory. His showboating was fantastic, until you had to watch Gary Doherty be the last line of defence between Ronaldo and the Spurs goal.
Best Player I wish I’d seen live
Zinedine Zidane, just beating out Messi, and with the added wish that I had appreciated him while he was still playing. The best player in a France team I couldn’t support due to an unnervingly high number of Arsenal players in it, Zidane lead them to victory in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 tournaments. Skilled, majestic, arrogant, Zidane had it all – then ended his career by headbutting Materazzi. Brilliant.
Worst Player (Spurs)
Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition for this but, top of the heap, or bottom of the pile, is Grzegorz Rasiak. He was signed right as the transfer window closed in August of 2005, and left in February 2006, but not before Spurs fans got incredibly frustrated with his lack of ability and effort – culminating in us having to implore him just to “JUMP!” in a league game at Fulham. Absolutely rubbish.
Worst Player (non-Spurs)
This goes to nobody, as Tottenham always seem to bring out the best in opposition players. In a build up to a game, if a player is mentioned as not having scored in x number of matches, or the team is without a win in so long, you can guarantee Spurs will conspire to break that streak.
I have been lucky enough to go to quite a few different stadiums and I’d rank them into three different categories:
The Good: Newcastle, Man City (City of Manchester Stadium), Arsenal (Highbury), Braga, Fulham, Bolton, Burnley, Leyton Orient, Old Wembley
The Average/Boring: Blackburn, Wigan, West Brom, Charlton, Oxford (Manor), Leicester, QPR, Swindon, Nottingham Forest, Oldham, Slavia Prague, NY Red Bulls
The Ugly: Cheltenham (Lower league granted, but so are Leyton Orient), Chelsea (How about a stadium where I can see from every seat?), Southampton (Bad infrastructure surrounding a boring new ground) and Portsmouth (How about a roof? You didn’t know it might rain?)
The winner: Well call me biased, but it has to go to White Hart Lane. Inconveniently located nowhere near an Underground station, bad food options and not a big enough capacity, but undoubtedly – home.
Remember, remember the 5th of November…2006, Spurs 2 Chelsea 1. Tottenham’s last league win over Chelsea had come a year before Harold Camping’s last prediction of when Judgement Day was to be (he claimed September 6th, 1994, followed by realising he’d failed to carry the 1 or something). The game was a close fought battle, saw John Terry sent off, and was won with a great Aaron Lennon goal. The only disappointment, no journalist asked the question of the Chelsea captain “So, what DID you say to Ledley King?”
There’s a whole slew of 4-0 defeats to Manchester United or Blackburn that could take this, but I think it will have to go to the 1-0 loss at Southampton in 2004. As mentioned, the stadium was appalling, it took ages to get out of it afterwards, Spurs played terribly and then we still had a long drive home.
Most annoying aspect of Doomsday being day before end of the Premier League Season
Not being able to see Spurs beat Birmingham and send them and Stephen Carr down to the Championship…still have not forgiven him for saying he wanted to play for a “big club” when he moved to Newcastle.
Manager who is most likely to believe he will be Raptured
Best International Tournament
I really enjoyed Italia ’90 until England’s penalty loss to Germany. I really enjoyed Euro ’96 until England’s penalty loss to Germany…etc and so forth. I think the best overall would be World Cup 2002, mainly because I got to watch it after I’d finished with University and before work began, but it was a really entertaining tournament also. Even watching the final on a small television in my cousins’ kitchen in the middle of nowhere, Northern California, at 4am, did not dampen my enjoyment of it. I really enjoyed World Cup 2010 too, something that was made much easier by my supporting of England ending in 2006 at the exact same moment that John Terry was made captain (for reason, see the aformentioned unasked question)
Best Goal (Spurs)
1. Ginola vs Barnsley (March 1999):
2. Kanoute vs Everton (October 2003)
3. Defoe vs Arsenal (November 2004, might have been top had we not lost the game)
Best Goal (Non-Spurs)
Way too many to choose from but this one from Argentina against Serbia in the 2006 World Cup stands out above all others:
Most Random place to watch an embarassing Spurs defeat
A second floor bar in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia, for Spurs’ loss to Grimsby in the League Cup in September 2005.
My Favourite Spurs XI
Thorstvedt, Carr (before he left), Mabbutt, King, Tarricco, Anderton, Hoddle, Van der Vaart, Ginola, Defoe, Klinsmann
So that’s it, good luck with Doomsday and all that. One day next week, I’ll give my thoughts on Sunday’s games and the countdown to the next predicted End-of-the-World-Which-Won’t-Actually-Happen on December 21st 2012.